Though accidents involving garbage trucks are not something people often hear about, these incidents are more common than you would think. Garbage trucks are out on the roads almost every day of the week. Unfortunately, due to the dangerous nature of garbage trucks, when these accidents occur, they can be devastating.
Garbage trucks can cause serious property damage to other vehicles. They also can injure and kill pedestrians, motorists and the sanitation workers operating them. If you or someone you love is injured by a garbage truck in Michigan, you have a right to take action to pursue compensation.
If you have suffered an injury due to a garbage truck accident in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, or anywhere else in Michigan, the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you seek appropriate and full financial compensation. You have the right to have your medical bills, lost wages, and other benefits paid for by the car insurance company. In addition, you can get compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress against the individuals and company’s responsible for the accident.
Common Causes of Michigan Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage truck accidents can happen for various reasons. In some cases, another driver could be to blame. However, in many situations, it is the negligence of the garbage truck operator that lead to accidents.
Sanitation work is not easy. It is common for those operating garbage trucks to be fatigued and in a hurry to finish their route. Unfortunately, this can lead to negligent actions and behaviors that cause accidents.
Some of the most common causes of garbage truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue and distraction: Sanitation work is labor-intensive and can require long shifts. When workers are fatigued, they are less aware of their actions and driving and can easily cause an accident.
- Blind spots: Garbage trucks have large blind spots. When the truck is continually starting and stopping or backing up, the workers must double-check their blind spots before moving. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and can result in property, pedestrians, and other vehicles being injured or damaged.
- Oversized loads: When garbage trucks are overloaded or if a load is not properly dumped or secured, things can fall off the truck, which can lead to an accident.
- Speeding or rushed actions: Often, sanitation workers are in a hurry to get through their routes. Unfortunately, when they are focused only on what they are doing, they can lose sight of their surroundings and end up causing an accident.
- Lack of training: In some cases, accidents can occur because the workers were not adequately trained before sending them out on their route. Inexperience and lack of training are leading causes of work-related accidents, such as sanitation work. This can result in the workers themselves being injured or others around them.
- Defective equipment: Lack of maintenance or faulty equipment can also cause garbage truck drivers to get into an accident. If something goes wrong, the driver can easily lose control of the truck, which can cause an accident to occur.
- Inclement weather: Bad weather is also a common cause of garbage truck accidents. These large vehicles are hard enough to maneuver as is, so when it is raining or snowing, it can make it even harder to operate them.
Injuries That Result From Garbage Truck Accidents
The injuries and damages that result from garbage truck accidents are often severe. These trucks are large and operate using heavy and dangerous equipment. When they come into contact with another vehicle or a pedestrian, the impact can lead to horrible injuries and even death.
Some common injuries that can occur from garbage truck accidents include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Crushed limbs or loss of limbs
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Damage to internal organs
- Permanent impairments
- Severe scarring and disfigurement
The severity of garbage truck accident injuries can vary. Not all injuries will necessarily be severe—it simply depends on the individual circumstances. Some injuries may heal quickly, while others can result in permanent and lifelong impairments.
The Michigan garbage truck accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are experts in explaining to the court and insurance companies exactly how accident injuries can impact someone, their lifestyle, and their family to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Garbage Truck Accidents Are Preventable
Garbage truck accidents are the result of negligent choices. As a result, they are preventable. Improved training , paying attention, and proper truck maintenance can help reduce the number of garbage truck accidents.
Sanitation workers and garbage truck companies can help prevent accidents by:
- Conducting regular training and ensuring workers follow all rules, regulations, and policies.
- Taking the time to double-check blind spots before moving the truck or using a second worker as a spotter.
- Ensuring workers are fully rested and alert before sending them out for their shift.
- Taking extra precautions when the weather is bad.
- Paying closer attention to surroundings and not rushing through shifts to quickly finish routes.
Who is Liable for Garbage Truck Accidents?
When it comes to determining liability for garbage truck accidents, a couple of different parties could be held responsible. Though you might automatically assume it is only the truck driver’s fault, this is not always the case.
Potentially liable parties in garbage truck accident cases can include:
If the garbage truck driver or any sanitation worker involved acted negligently, they should be held liable for their actions. For example, if the driver was speeding or failed to check their blind spots, they are a proper defendant.
The Waste Management Company
The company that owns and operates the sanitation or waste management facility can also be held responsible when an accident involving one of its garbage trucks occurs. The company is responsible for hiring and training the workers, so if one of the workers causes an accident, it can fall back on the company for lack of training or poor hiring decisions. The company is also responsible for ensuring the trucks are properly maintained. If there is a maintenance issue that causes the accident, the waste management company can be held responsible
The Garbage Truck Owner
Sometimes, the garbage truck owner is different than the company listed on the side of the truck. Under Michigan law, the owner of the garbage truck is responsible for the bad choices made by its drivers.
The Truck Manufacturer
If the accident occurs as a result of a defect or faulty part, the liability could be traced back to the truck manufacturer. For example, if the garbage truck was poorly designed or if the manufacturer forgot to send out a recall for a known defect, they could be held liable.
The Maintenance Shop
In some cases, repair shops or mechanics can also be held responsible when an accident occurs. This is also rare, but it can happen. If the person responsible for the truck’s maintenance did a poor job or failed to address a maintenance issue, it is possible for them to be held liable.
Recovering Compensation After a Garbage Truck Accident
If you are involved in an accident in Michigan with a garbage truck, you have a right to receive compensation to help cover damages. Michigan is a comparative fault state, so you can file a claim and recover damages so long as the other driver is at least 50% at-fault for causing the crash. If you carry some of the blame for causing the accident, your compensation will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
Other factors that will be taken into consideration that can determine how much money you will receive can include:
- Past medical expenses for injuries
- Future medical expenses, such as rehabilitation, physical therapy and surgeries
- Loss of wages from being out of work while recovering
- Loss of future earnings if you are left disabled and unable to return to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Property damage, such as car repairs
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disfigurement
Michigan No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance coverage is required by law in Michigan. Every driver must purchase a certain level of coverage. No-fault benefits, also known as personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, are paid by auto insurance companies to the injured person following an accident.
After an accident occurs, no-fault insurance can cover medical expenses, loss of wages, prescriptions and other benefits.. However, no-fault insurance does not typically cover car repairs. Other damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress are also not covered by PIP. If you seek compensation beyond what PIP provides, you will need to work with an attorney to file a lawsuit against the guilty parties.
Michigan no-fault benefits include:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP protection helps pay for all reasonably necessary medical expenses. If you lose out on wages, PIP covers up to 85% of that income for up to three years.
- Personal Property Protection (PPI): PPI pays up to $1 million in damage to another person’s property.
- Residual Liability Insurance: Residual liability insurance helps protect the driver if they cause an accident and injure someone.
Wrongful Death Benefits
Surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit if a loved one is killed after a garbage truck accident. Compensation that is awarded for wrongful death can help cover funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm Can Win Your Case
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation that they need and deserve. We care about the health and wellbeing of our clients. Injuries from a garbage truck accident can take time and can result in many financial burdens. Let us help you get the money and justice you need so you can recover as comfortably as possible.
Please call Lee Steinberg and the Michigan garbage truck accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your accident. You pay nothing until we settle your Michigan personal injury case.